Better athlete: Federer or Sampras

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by dangalak, Sep 17, 2012.

?

better athlete?

  1. Sampras

    52 vote(s)
    28.1%
  2. Federer

    133 vote(s)
    71.9%
  1. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Endurance/fitness doesn't = athleticism.

    I'd say Sampras was faster than almost any other player today, especially in forward movement, he was a cheetah in that regard.

    I'd say he's a better pure athlete than Fed but Fed has better anticipation (one of the best I've ever seen in that regard), footwork and transition from defense to offense.
     
    #51
  2. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

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    yes although i dont think this particular poster was getting at that though. i think he was merely saying, just because federer is the better or more accomplished player, doesn't mean sampras wouldnt have given him fits, and pointed to nadal as an example of someone who fits the mould of someone who is less accomplished but is hard for fed to beat. I could be wrong but i think it was more of a defense of sampras rather than an attack of federer.

    however i do agree with you on your point that sampras fans do take it overboard at times with the nadal-federer h2h (not saying scotus is doing that, just in general), given the distribution of matches on each surface and the slowing of the surfaces and how their games match up. i think if you put sampras in federers shoes, he'd probably fare worse against nadal than fed did. its highly doubtful he'd beat nadal even once in 14 attempts on clay, something federer did twice. and on todays slow hardcourts rafa would get his scalps and the occasional win on one of the faster surfaces. but i think nadal would win the head to head. at the same time i think if you match up fed/sampras against nadal against the 90s surfaces, rafa be overwhelmed most of the time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
    #52
  3. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    If any Sampras fan made that argument, that would be a logical fallacy.

    The Nadal-Fed H2H only serves to argue that the slam count differential does not dictate the H2H outcomes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
    #53
  4. Russeljones

    Russeljones G.O.A.T.

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    Pete in 3 - problem solved! :lol:
     
    #54
  5. Sabratha

    Sabratha G.O.A.T.

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    I'm going to say Federer.
     
    #55
  6. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    More accomplished no doubt, complete player? I have my doubts, Sampras was more of an all-courter than Fed, people forget that he used to play a lot from the baseline as well at his peak, I'd say he used the whole court more than Fed.

    That said, complete player doesn't always mean better player, I feel Fed is a slightly better player than Sampras.

    We obviously have different views in that regard, for me a better player is a player who does better against the field as a whole with H2H factoring very little if at all.
     
    #56
  7. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    Okay, let's say between Zarfot and me, there's no such disagreement. Now that you've entered the conversation, I should have been clearer about that.
     
    #57
  8. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    ...but still managing to get beaten by nobodies at a rate Federer hasn't stooped to in a decade.
     
    #58
  9. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    Both great athletes, effortless fluid movements.

    Federer endurance miles better than Sampras (Pete had stamina problems).

    Sampras more explosive perhaps, quicker going into the net and really quick and smart there.

    In Sampras's era it still was rewarded to be very quick and smart at the net, but now....(I think if Federer had played in the 90s we could have seen him doing much better at the net than what he has done in this era).

    Look at this for example: conditions still rewarded quick and talented players at the net that went full pressure on the opponent (like McEnroe, Cash, Edberg or young Sampras here that sometimes chose to attack the net relentlessly)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMGd3wUju94

    Will we ever see this beautiful net-game show type of tennis again?
     
    #59
  10. Who would win a wrestling match between the two? Pete
    Who would win a 50metre dash? Pete
    Who would win a high jump or long jump? Pete
    Who would win longer distance race? Roger
    Reflexes, agility, flexibility? Cant decide.
    Who could throw a javelin further? A discus? Jump hurdles? Swim better?
    If you had to pick one to do a days work on the railroads you would pick PETE. Simples!
     
    #60
  11. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

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    This is the next prime fed vs Sampras thread
     
    #61
  12. BigServer1

    BigServer1 Legend

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    This.

    10 of These.
     
    #62
  13. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    I really hope no one would say Fed as being more "complete" or "all around" then Sampras. People that would say that, obviously never saw Pete in the early-mid 90s when he could destroy you from both the baseline, service line and at the net. His transition to the net and net game was one of the best ever.. He was one of the best all court players how used the ENTIRE court to his advantage the game has ever seen.

    Sampras destroyed guys like Courier, Becker, Agassi from the baseline and the net consistently in his prime.. He could outhit you from the baseline or if he chose to would attack you right after a punishing serve and next thing you know point was over. Pete was already flying in for an overhead slam
     
    #63
  14. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Comparing Sampras's baseline game to Federer's net game most of the time is a no brainer. Sampras's baseline game >>>>> Federer's net game.
     
    #64
  15. Prisoner of Birth

    Prisoner of Birth Banned

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    And yet he hasn't made a single Grand Slam final on "90's Clay." Sampras is great but he's definitely not the complete package that Federer is.
     
    #65
  16. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

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    Oh really?? Please tell me why he failed miserably on clay!! Typical American bias!!
     
    #66
  17. President

    President Legend

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    I hear Pete could also walk on water and outsprint Usain Bolt :|
     
    #67
  18. Magnetite

    Magnetite Professional

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    I'd say Pete. He seemed more explosive. He had more strength and power.

    Fed is quicker and has more endurance.

    It's really close, but I just have to give it to Pete because I'm sure he had the better vertical.

    Tough call though.
     
    #68
  19. tennis_pro

    tennis_pro G.O.A.T.

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    You're crazy.
     
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  20. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    I would have loved to see Federer play in the 90s, because with his talent we would have seen him use much more net game in an era with much more polarized conditions.

    I still enjoy todays tennis, but not as much as previous eras.

    Today with bigger, fluffy balls and slow hard-courts everywhere and poly-strings on top of that, the game is too much baseline-top-spin oriented. The ball sits up and it is so easy to smack a hard and heavy top-spin shot from the back of the court once and again till the sun goes down.

    I think Federer would have done even more amazing shots and beautiful things in the 90s or earlier (when the game was much more varied than today and many different playing styles were possible)
     
    #70
  21. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

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    He consistently destroyed Agassi from the baseline eh....funny guy.
     
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  22. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    10fedin5byawhiskers
     
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  23. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    He didn't destroy Agassi or Courier or Chang consistently from the baseline.

    It was that in many many situations, in an important point, he (I don't know why) used to stay back and play the point from the baseline, long points, and usually won the majority of those important points even against the best baseliners of the game.

    But the "not so important points", when he was 15-0 or 30-0 down returning, he lost A LOT of baseline points almost as he didn't even care.

    It was really strange and I remember many people thinking the same: why does he play so well from the baseline when the point is important, and so bad (or so careless) when the point didn't matter that much?

    It was the way he played. Perhaps he could never sustain all the attention and focus for all the points in an entire match (he was not a Borg, Nadal, Wilander, Lendl, Connors...type of player that seemed to focus in each and every point of every match as if it was the last point of the match).
     
    #73
  24. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    What a strange thing to say. Some of the biggest Sampras fans on this forum are from Europe.
     
    #74
  25. Bjorn99

    Bjorn99 Professional

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    The reason why Federer would destroy beat over a period of matches is that Federer has a better return of serve than Agassi and Connors combined.

    Watch Federer return versus Kraijcek indoors and see why he was able to return Roddicks serve at Wimbledon the year Roddicks serve was probably the biggest serve EVER seen at Wimbledon.

    Once the ball was in play, HOW was Federer going to lose to Sampras?

    Don't get me wrong, Sampras was great, and some thought they would never see anything as great as him for a long time, but next to Federer, he sucked. He really did. Federer, by playing down to Sampras' level in those exhibitions, really fooled a lot of people.

    To me, its all about the return of serve. Federer would have returned Petes serve rather easily, and that would have been the end of Pete.

    If Federer hadn't been paid and coaxed to make those exos competitive, this thread wouldn't exist.
     
    #75
  26. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Im sorry I had to stop reading after that:?
     
    #76
  27. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    He's talking about prime Federer, not a 31 years old Federer.

    Remember Fed at 19 handles Pete's serve better than Agassi did on grass.
     
    #77
  28. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Still nonsense.. Fed at no time was a better ROS then Andre. Please... Andre is hands down the best ROS in history
     
    #78
  29. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    If Fed had the return of Agassi on grass, he wouldn't beat Pete at 2001 Wimbledon.

    Agassi disagree with you.

     
    #79
  30. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, I can just imagine how easy it would be to identify Pete among the railroad workers. Just look for the guy who is breathing hard and walking like a zombie after 1 hour of work yet still doing a great job. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
    #80
  31. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I dispute your premise that Federer is the lesser athlete than Nadal. He may not have the pure strength or footspeed, but, athleticism is more than that. It also includes balance, timing, coordination, eye-hand coordination.

    With that in mind, IMO, Sampras was faster and stronger than either of them. But, I still give Federer the edge over Sampras in terms of balance, timing, coordination, eye-hand coordination. The proof, I submit, can be found in Federer's superior return game. Federer can stand in close and still handle the biggest serves. Sampras could do that, but, not at the level Fed does, or did.

    So, on balance, I have to call it a draw between Federer and Sampras, and I give both of them an edge over Nadal.
     
    #81
  32. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    I'm one of Pete's biggest fans but he didn't have a very good balance when playing on clay. Fedal moves great everywhere..
     
    #82
  33. Bjorn99

    Bjorn99 Professional

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    Agassi is NOT a better returner than Federer. Federer totally dismantles big serves. Negates them entirely. And that is why Federer beat Sampras at Wimbledon really. Sampras kept cranking up, and the ball kept coming back at angles and depth that Pete couldn't adjust to.

    Federer beat Sampras when he was a teenager at the worlds biggest stage, and at the place where Sampras least wanted to be beaten at.

    Athlete? Who cares about that? Tennis player? Federer, by a mile. And Pete was great. But Pete relied mostly on the big serve. And I am saying that Federer delighted in their one and ONLY encounter in returning it with ease. No contest really. And strokes and movement. WATCH THE MATCH.
     
    #83
  34. Bjorn99

    Bjorn99 Professional

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    Words are lost on most people. Myself included from time to time,but pictorially, this clip on youtube should demonstrate what I am talking about.

    Richard K. had a better serve than anyone, including Pete, and this is almost cruel, what Federer did to the guy. Cruel.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUnpN1Vh0WA
     
    #84
  35. Dharmaboy

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    Speed. Sampras easy. He was on you so fast if there was a short ball and unless you were Agassi, your pass was handled with ease.

    Fed's mental endurance as well as the physical has made him win some tough battles
     
    #85
  36. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    By the way, (and a bit off topic here but I have just seen it). There were very slow outdoor hardcourts in the 90s as well, look at how slow conditions (specially balls) were in the Australian Open of 1997 (baseliners, most of them clay-courters, reached QF or better that year like Muster, Moya, Costa, Mantilla, Rios, Chang). Look:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7l7YhNCmVCo

    But the thing is that there were obviously very fast hardcourts as well and indoor carpet.

    Today, almost all outdoor harcourts (and balls) are like this one of AusOpen'97 or even slower (and there's no carpet anymore).
     
    #86
  37. helloworld

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    You are actually using a match where young Federer played OUT OF HIS MIND against one of Sampras' worst days at Wimbledon? Good luck with that! :confused:
     
    #87
  38. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    WRONG.

    Sampras serving that day was well above his normal standard. He served 69% that day and had more pop on it than during his prime years. Sampras normally don't serve this high %, and many of previous Wimbledon matches his serve % was in the 50, yet he still win because the other player's return are inferior to Roger.
     
    #88
  39. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    WRONG. As Brad Gilbert said, Sampras was most dangerous when his 1st serve % is around 50%. This is when he was most confident with his serve and will go the the biggest serves. His high % meant he wasn't going for his 1st serve, and was resorting to playing safe usually when he had a bad day, and had to rely on high percentage on 1st serve. Unless you think you know more than Brad Gilbert, who was Agassi's coach and studied Pete's game very thoroughly.
     
    #89
  40. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    ??????????????????????????????

    You're saying Pete's 1st serve is easier to deal with than his 2nd serve.:shock:

    So instead of him serving 69% against Roger in 2001, had he serve 50%, he would have won the match.:lol:
     
    #90
  41. TheFifthSet

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    Agassi has a case for being the greatest returner in the open era although he has stiff competition with Conners, Borg, Nole and Murray among others.

    Feds return of serve is one of the best of his era, particularly the first serve return. He's definitely better than Sampras in that regard, but not Agassi.

    PS - a big reason Fed might do better against big serves than Agassi is that he is a better player overall. There's more to winning than a great return of serve . . . if we wanna make an accurate comparison we could compare % of return games won against big servers.
     
    #91
  42. TheFifthSet

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    I don't think one match is a big enough sample size to make that conclusion.
     
    #92
  43. Lambo

    Lambo Banned

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    I do not understand what the confusion is all about....

    Fed a better athlete by a mile. His longevity and winning grandslams at his age is a testament to that.

    Add to that the game is far more physical in the current day and age and for fed to dominate for so long proves the guy is a great athlete........he plays the in a manner and a style others dream of......
     
    #93
  44. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

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    I second this but Sampras had more explosive power than fed otherwise I'm with you
     
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  45. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yeah, but had they met more on grass, one can't conclude that Roger would do better or worse. Who knows, but most likely it would be the same. Match up issues doesn't change.
     
    #95
  46. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

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    So then why assume Federer would have done worse on grass against Sampras if he had Agassis return? By saying he would do worse, you kinda did conclude that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
    #96
  47. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    I concluded that Fed return better than Agassi on grass. If you compare Agassi return against Pete 1999 Wimbledon to Federer 2001 Wimbledon, Fed had more success. Pete won 89% of his 1st serve against Agassi, but 76% against Federer. Agassi had 4 break chances, Fed had 11, and Fed had to face a higher 1st serve percentage(69 to 66). I also believe Sampras serve better in 2001 than in 1999.
     
    #97
  48. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

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    Well that's a little misleading, you said return of serve, not comparative return stats over their respective matches against Sampras. And you were backing up a poster who said that Federers return was better than Agassi's and Connors combined, so it's not hard to deduce that you were trying to argue that Federer's return on grass was better than Agassi's.

    Also, almost everyone who say the 1999 Wimbledon final in its entirety would agree that it was one of the finest serving performances in Sampras's career. Not that it matters much, people can be wrong, but if you watch both matches it's pretty clear Sampras served better in '99. His placement and variety was extraordinary even for Sampras, and it had Andre baffled.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
    #98
  49. Al Czervik

    Al Czervik Professional

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    This is a great question. I think you have to give it to Roger. Sampras had better technique on volleys and could jump higher. Pete was somewhat catlike, but if he was that good of a mover, he wouldn't have stunk so bad on clay. Plus, he just flat out won a lot of points with aces and bludgeoning groundies. Roger's game is all about movement.

    Pete's snow job of battling through while sick/tired always annoyed me. It was very Rafa like. He acted dead and struggling between points, but played just fine between the lines.
     
    #99
  50. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Nope. I never mentioned a word about Connors. I just pointed out that Bjorn99 was referring to a prime Fed, not a 31 yrs old Fed. I could be wrong if Bjorn99 really meant the current Fed. My view is Fed return better than Agassi on grass.


    Sampras serve % in 1999
    R128 - 62%
    R64 - 73%
    R32 - 74%
    R16 - 69%
    QF - 50%
    Semi - 52%
    Final - 66%

    Sampras serve % in 2001
    R128 - 67%
    R64 - 69%
    R32 - 60%
    R16 - 69%

    You can argue Fed serve better in 2001.
     

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